Judicial Candidate Was Fired For Legal Ethics Problems





The front-runner for a judicial appointment got fired from the Public Defender’s Office in 2008 after being accused of violations of legal ethics, including sharing confidential information with her prosecutor boyfriend.

Although 23 lawyers are being considered for an open County Court sea, Nina W. Di Pietro is the favorite to get the gubernatorial appointment. That’s because she is the wife of influential Republican consultant and fundraiser David Di Pietro.


dipietro-ninaNina Di Pietro: Fired!!!!



Yet Ms. Di Pietro has a checkered legal past.

“I fired her for gross ethical violations. I mean serious violations. And let me tell you, it isn’t easy to get fired from the Public Defender’s Office,” Public Defender Howard Finkelstein told Browardbeat.com on Monday.

Finkelstein send a 19-page letter outlining Ms. Di Pietro’s firing to Broward’s Judicial Nominating Commission, which recommends who is appointed to the bench. It contains 2008 memos from six of Ms. Di Pietro’s supervisors.

The memos portray a young attorney totally out of control, not able to follow either the rules of legal ethics or the Public Defender’s Office policies.

In the memos, supervisors also paint a picture of Ms. Di Pietro’s character that is particularly disturbing considering she is seeking an appointment to the County Court. The County Court is nicknamed the “People’s Court” because it deals with minor matters involving average folks.

Ms. Di Pietro is devastatingly described as indifferent to others, lacking common courtesy and compassion.

“This was not a one shot, one mistake kind of thing,” Finkelstein said. “This was a pattern of bad behavior.  If she ever becomes a judge, woe be it to those who are black, poor, mentally ill or otherwise disadvantaged.”


 Her Love Life Caused Problems


Some of Ms. Di Pietro’s problems – but clearly not all – stemmed from her love life. During the time she was employed by the Public Defender’s Office, she was dating David Di Pietro, who was a prosecutor at the time.

Ms. Di Pietro reportedly told her supervisor that she shared information from her cases with David Di Pietro. “I talk to him about all my cases,” she is alleged to have said.

She also was chastised for shouting to her clients across a courtroom, thus “risking attorney client confidentiality.”

Legal ethical guidelines forbid a defense attorney from privately share confidential information about a case with a prosecutor.

The memos further depict Ms. Di Pietro as having no use for the Public Defender’s Office.

She was “dismissive” and insensitive towards her clients, who are all poor, referring to one client an “idiot.”

(Her application discloses that Ms. Di Pietro, 33, today lives in a vastly different world than her poor Public Defender clients in 2008.  She lives in a home she values at $850,000, has a net worth of over $1 million, which includes $568,000 in cash.)

“Her client contact skills were unsatisfactory. She lacks compassion and common courtesy,” stated a memo from Mindy Solomon, then a Public Defender’s Office supervisor and today a judge.

Solomon was assigned as Ms. Di Pietro’s mentor. Ms. Di Pietro’s reaction?

“This is bullshit and a waste of my fucking time,” she was heard saying outside Solomon’s office.

Renee Dadowski, then a chief assistant public defender, said Ms. Di Pietro spoke openly about another attorney in the office in a “degrading” way, calling him “retard boy.”

Solomon summed up Ms. Di Pietro’s experience at the Public Defender’s Office: “To put it bluntly, she had a horrible attitude.”


Her Side Of The Story


In her application for the bench, Di Pietro disclosed her firing. She detailed it this way:

“My personal approach was not aligning with the office administration’s philosophy for handling cases. At times, my supervisors and I had strong differences of opinion regarding ethical boundaries and the obligations placed upon attorneys by the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar.

“In addition to those factors, in March 2007, I began a personal relationship with an Assistant State Attorney. The relationship was not viewed favorably and became a source of mild harassment by the administration. At one point my relationship was even characterized as an act of betrayal to my clients.”

De Pietro said she never discussed confidential information with her boyfriend. “My discussion with that prosecutor (David Di Pietro) involved his review of the police report (a public record) for the case. Although no attorney-client information was shared, my supervisor incorrectly concluded that I had done so…”

Based on the “erroneous presumption,” she was fired, Di Pietro disclosed in her application.

Di Pietro concludes by conceding, “I was not a good fit for the office. Being terminated was both disappointing and humbling, however it taught me how to cope with a difficult working environment and showed me the importance of not placing myself in a situation that could lead to an appearance of impropriety.”

Within the next month, the JNC will pick several of the 23 applicants to recommend to Scott. From that list of JNC recommendations, Scott will pick to appoint to the County Court seat.


The material Finkelstein supplied the Judicial Nominating Commission is below.


Nina Weatherly DiPietro

36 Responses to “Judicial Candidate Was Fired For Legal Ethics Problems”

  1. Chaz Stevens, I am Festivus says:

    How many “fucking(s)” are there in the word c*nt?

  2. Talks like a politician says:

    This sounds like the perfect South Florida candidate for the judicial appointment. I fail to see the problem. NOT!

  3. Sad Republican says:

    Pretty sad Buddy that cronyism seems to run rampant in these appointments. How could Nina Weatherly possibly be more qualified than most of the other applicants on the list, given her history? The answer is she’s not more qualified, not by a long shot. If Gov. Scott appoints her, it will clearly be only for a political payback to Bill Scherer who her husband David Di Pietro used to work for. It’s a sad state of affairs that qualifications really don’t seem to matter in many of these appointments. If it’s simply a matter of appointing a Republican in Dem-heavy Broward county for Gov Scott, at least look at the other known Republicans on the list…there are more than a few on the list of 23.

  4. Rick Annunziato says:

    From the list of 23, the only one with any “judicial” or “quasi-judicial” experience is Broward County Court chief magistrate Brenda Di Ioia.

  5. Las Olas Lawyer says:

    Her temperament does not seem judicial. The JNC should find some other Republican because her appointment would be a stain on the system.

  6. Death Star says:

    How has she not been disbarred for this behavior? Did Howard report this to the state? The last thing Broward County needs is a judge that believes the rules don’t apply to them while they apply them to others.
    Shame on republicans and Governor Scott if they put her on the bench.


    In 2008, Howard Finkelstein filed a complaint with the Florida Bar alleging Di Pietro had revealed attorney-client privileged information. The complaint was dismissed without finding probable cause.

  7. you're right Chaz says:

    Sounds like she’d be a perfect match for Chaz.

  8. Another take says:

    Being objective, maybe she wasn’t a good fit at the PD’s office. Let’s face it, maybe she wasn’t the perfect employee but I have no doubt like most businesses the PD’s office probably exaggerated their side in all of this. Are we really going to believe pillow talk between state pd and judges does not happen. Let’s all grow up.

    I have a much bigger problem with my tax dollars being used to continually give Giselle Pollack a living. Nina or her worst day never put lives at risk driving drunk on the roads. I don’t belive Nina would be drunk on the bench while administering justice either.

    Bottom line, no one is perfect, especially not howard. Howard claims to be all about second chances, well except for Republicans.

    8 years is a long time in a career. Does anyone have anything negative to say for the last 8 years? Maybe she made mistakes, though I don’t believe as bad as howard says, and matured to become a very good lawyer.

    Does anyone really believe Howard would have done this had Nina not married a connected republican? Let’s be real this is about politics not Nina as a lawyer.

    Wait, howard is not about politics right?

  9. Sam The Sham says:

    Help Himself Howeird was right to fire little Nina. She was not a good fit for the position. However, no criminal or ethical lapses seemed to occur, ie “The complaint was dismissed without finding probable cause.”

    Nina’s real sin and the real reason Howard has a hard-on for her is that she is a conservative. Heaven forbid that someone who does not like criminals gets to sit on the bench.

  10. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @6 – “The last thing Broward County needs is aNOTHER judge that believes the rules don’t apply to them while they apply them to others.” – Fixed that for you!!!

    @5 – The JNC should find some other qualified candidate, not necessarily a Republican. Example: Roshawn Banks.

  11. Lamberti is a Criminal says:

    If Help Mr Howierd fired her, she has my vote.

  12. Lamberti is a Criminal says:

    Howierd talking about gross ethical violations is fukking hilarious.

  13. Downtown Abby says:

    This is a pure power play. The little man doesn’t like Republicans and when one of his assistants started dating a Republican insider that was more than he or that office could take. It was game-on.
    It seems clear from the article above that Ms. D. was not lacking in her representation or trials skills, rather that she possessed a “bad attitude”.
    One must wonder how much poking, prodding and accusing it took her to for attain her sour outlook? After all, an asst. public defender dating a prosecutor was bad enough, but dating an up-and-coming Republican could not stand.
    So, fast-forward to 2015 and the little man fires of a 19 page hit piece that we all know that he did not author, but merely executed.
    If, as the little man thought, it was so damning it was also as much a big yawn for the Florida Bar and the JNC.
    The little man does have a history of declaring war and for crying wolf.
    I suspect that this hard-left little man’s attempt to derail Ms. D. will fall flat with our Republican Executive.
    Lastly, the icing on this hit-job was pulling the race card where no basis for the charge exists. We know that when the little man goes nuclear, he goes for the racial balistic missles. Nice touch.
    In the end, Ms. D., is a good lawyer who will make a fine judge. Whether she gets the nod is a whole different story. Whether the governor takes into account the little man’s hit-job is a foregone conclusion.

    P.S. what is the over-under for how many diffent fake posts the fat man makes above?
    I say three!

  14. Kevin Hill says:

    This all makes her the perfect candidate to be appointed by Rick Scott.

    Sheesh. You cannot make this stuff up, can you?

  15. The Guess Who says:

    This is going to help her chance of getting on the bench. Howard should have endorsed her wholeheartedly. That would have done more damage.

  16. Drug Slinger Esq says:

    Oh my Help Me Howard the consummate politician, man of such integrity, did Ms DiPietro use drugs in the performance of her duties at the PD’s office no, she is just associated with another political party.

  17. Ana Gomez-Mallada says:

    Finkelstein also filed a Senior Assistant Public defender for speaking his own opinion on his own time.

    Interesting that Finkelstein filed a Bar complaint against one of his own. And that the Bar found ‘no probable cause”.

    Tolerance of people who are not cast in the strict “Public Defender” mold does not seem to be high in the Public defender’s office.

  18. Not insider in 2007 says:

    I do not believe David Di Pietro was a Republican insider back in 2006 or 2007 when they started dating. He went to work for Scherer right after the controversy resulted in her dismissal. Was his departure from the State Attorney’s Office a product of her issue or was it simply serendipity?

    To conjecture that the firing had anything to do with politics (Republican vs. Democrat) without any proof in order to support your ad hominem attack on Finkelstein is absurd.

    What you are doing is attacking Finkelstein instead of addressing the issue which is whether she should be a judge.

  19. Firecracker says:

    Everyone has a past, including Finkelstein:
    It was 1987, and Florida lawyer Howard L. Finkelstein was living the life.
    A charismatic and successful criminal defense lawyer, he had nice cars and big homes, and he could be seen at all the right restaurants and parties. Finkelstein’s wife was even pregnant with their first child.
    Then, on his way home from happy hour one night, he hit a parked car—a police car. Not only was he not sober, but police found cocaine and prescription pills in his Cadillac.
    Finkelstein eventually pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and possession, and the Florida Bar suspended his law license. It was a consequence, he says, that saved his life—and made him a better lawyer.


  20. Maury says:

    It would be a travesty to have someone who lacks a moral compass presiding on the bench. Perhaps she should go volunteer at a soup kitchen and seek salvation. Evil and cruelty are not what we want on the bench. The behavior is vile

  21. Ira says:

    How callous and rude to refer to someone as “retard boy”. This is a slap in the face of individuals with developmental disabilities. Was there a bar compliant filed????

  22. Lady Lawyer says:

    I know this woman. She is an elitest all the way who has absolute distain for anyone who is not a white millionaire. The problem is with her demeanor as indicated by several supervisors. That isn’t a Bar complaint issue. Its a human issue and who wants a judge who is unfeeling and nasty towards other humans.

    A further issue is her age, 33. It would be criminal for the JNC to appoint her when there is so many other experienced lawyers.

  23. Jay says:

    I am beyond disgusted with this type of behavior. Mean and Ugly Spirited individuals have no place on the bench. How can someone who works for the PD discuss confidential information with the State? This is the most egregious act an attorney can make. This is the worst quality one can expect of an attorney. For Howard to make this statement speaks volumes.

  24. Kreiss Firmed says:

    What happened to her job at Kreiss Firm?

  25. 2016 matchup says:

    If Dipietro gets appointed, I hear Howard will back Melanie Golden who used to work at the PDs office to run against her.

  26. John Henry says:

    Imagine a world without lawyers!

  27. Sad Republican says:

    @not an insider – you are absolutely correct about David Di Pietro not being on the “Republican scene” back in 2006-2007 or at any time up until 2010. He was basically unknown until Chip LaMarca appointed him as his legal counsel for the Broward GOP someone in early 2010. David’s claim to fame (or infamy) in that role was not allowing Karin Hoffman to run for the chairmanship in April 2010, declaring that she was not a valid member. David had no prior involvement up until that point in the party. He followed his time as Legal Counsel by setting up some political committees that were proxies for Bill Scherer and basically being LaMarca’s pal. Secondly, it’s just about impossible for someone to get fired from the PDs or State Attorneys office unless they do something really really stupid. … So saying that Nina’s firing may have had something to do with her being a conservative and her relationship with an unknown Republican back in 2008 when no one ever heard of David Di Pietro back then is a joke. She got fired from a job it’s really hard to get fired from – that she tell everyone something about her.

  28. Posy says:

    #22 Nailed it!
    She is an elitist snob. Period. There are no better words to describe her.
    I voted for Gov Scott because I believed he never joined arms with the corrupt Charlie Crist loving Broward Republicans.
    Gov Scott, Please do not make me regret my vote by supporting this social climber. Instead support someone who will support and defend the US constitution and apply it with compassion and conviction.

  29. Go to the Source says:

    Here is the list of the JNC. These are the people charged with representing Broward in ensuring the best qualified candidates are appointed to the hence. If this snot gets appointed we will all know who to blame.

    Zachariah P. Zachariah, Jr., Vice Chair (2016)
    Greenberg Traurig, PA
    401 East Las Olas Blvd., Ste. 2000
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301-4223
    Phone: (954)768-5208

    Georgette Sosa Douglass (2015)
    12 SE 7th Street, Ste. 700
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301-3433
    Phone: (954) 768-0046
    Fax: (954) 768-0228

    Alexis M. Yarbrough, (2015)
    1200 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Apt. 292
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304-1716
    Phone: (954)232-4464

    Kevin P. Tynan, Chair* (2015)
    Richardson & Tynan, PLC
    8142 N. University Drive
    Tamarac, Florida 33321-1708
    Phone: (954) 721-7300
    Fax: (954) 721-4742

    Belinda M. Keiser, Vice Chancellor (2016)
    Keiser College
    1900 W. Commercial Blvd., Ste.180
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309
    Phone: (954) 776-4476

    Terrence Patrick O’Connor* (2016)
    Morgan Carratt & O’Connor
    111 SE 12th Street
    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33316-1813
    Phone: (954) 728-8585
    Fax: (954) 728-8589

    Sidney Charles Calloway* (2018)
    Shutts & Bowen, LLP
    200 East Broward Blvd., Ste. 2100
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301-1963
    Phone: (954)847-3833
    Fax: (954)888-3063

    D. David Keller* (2018)
    Keller Landsberg, PA
    500 E Broward Boulevard Suite 1400
    Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33394-3024
    Phone: (954) 761-3550
    Fax: (954) 525-2134

    William G. McCormick (2018)
    Gray Robinson, PA
    401 East Las Olas Blvd., Ste. 1000
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301-4236
    Phone: (954)761-8111
    Fax: (954)761-8112

  30. If facts matter says:

    Many people were let go from the pds office or nudged out in the time frame nina left.

  31. Susan Goldstein says:

    Any professional who is ignorant enough to refer to a colleague as ‘Retard Boy’ has some very questionable ‘judgement’ issues.
    The number of people with developmental disabilities who are being arrested, often because they want to make friends and are easily provoked into doing things they should not, is increasing across the state. We need someone on the bench who will be compassionate and understanding in these circumstances, and someone who realizes that prosecutors are promoted and rewarded by their number of convictions. They often don’t care that the defendant is developmentally disabled. These poor souls have enough challenges, find someone with someone with more compassion.


    Susan Goldstein is a former state representative and a long-time activist and lobbyist for people with developmental disabilities.

  32. Nina? seriously? says:

    Nina is Not a very smart girl. She has very little actual courtroom experience, and she is only 33 years old. She is not anywhere near judge material.

  33. Give me a break says:

    First, nowhere is there an allegation that the person she may or may not have called “retard boy” was someone with developmental disabilities.

    If the person did not have developmental disabilities then while it may not have been the best choice of words, it in no way shows a bias against people with special needs.

    In the less enlightened past, people with special needs were called, stupid, morons, idiots and other not so kind things. No doubt that is wrong. On the other hand Susan are you saying your have never called someone who didn’t have special needs, stupid or an idiot? Give me a break.

    This is the problem with activists, they go to far off point and make problems in areas that have nothing to do with what really matters.

  34. Chaz Stevens says:


    Now, that is just plainly retarded. And I mean in a moronic way.

  35. @33 says:

    You don’t get it. The “R” word is as bad as the “N” word. It doesn’t matter if the person she called “retard boy” actually had developmental disabilities. It matters that someone, who thinks she is qualified to be a judge, would use the word when referring to ANYONE.
    What a grotesque person this woman must be.
    Broward must do better. Republicans must do better. We are better than this.

  36. Wanna B Hubby says:

    Im sure she regrets calling that individual “retard boy”. Nina is defiantly not a stupid girl she just has a loud and unfiltered mouth. After reading the comments above she should have her hubby call RS and tell him to appoint someone else. I’m sure Bill has another worthless child that he can leverage the big man to appoint.